Ask any salesperson worth their salt what the key to most sales discussions are, and they’ll tell you “listen”. They wouldn’t be wrong. Listening in a conversation focused on sales allows the customer to arrive at their own conclusions, and essentially allows them to feel as if they’ve solved their own problem. This is great for selling because whatever IT specific solution that comes out of a listening based sales discussion is ultimately born out of the customers own needs – not a forced sale.

There’s just one issue – most people are terrible listeners.

People do not like to listen. It’s passive. It’s boring. But, to be successful in sales, listening needs to be something you are good at.

One of the most effective ways to harness the powers of listening in sales is to take a page out of the psychology book. Counselors working with patients often employ what is known as Active Empathetic Listening – a method of counseling where a therapist┬álistens to the problems of the patient, and asks questions regarding their emotions towards that specific problem, and afterwards the therapist recalls a situation in which they felt similar emotions in a similar circumstance. The result? The patient feels understood and can begin to move past focusing on an event, and dealing with the lingering emotions.

Humans are relational beings. When we feel another human being can identify with an aspect of our life, trust is built. In sales, this is invaluable.

The best part about this? It makes listening ACTIVE, not passive. In sales discussions, listen to the emotions of your client – what they’re frustrated about; what they’re happy about – and let them know a situation in which you experienced similar emotions and how that made you feel. It doesn’t need to be a therapy session, but the small act of being able to empathize with clients can mean the difference between a client considering you a trusted advisor and confidant, versus another salesperson driven by commission.

Utilizing Active Empathetic Listening is relatively easy. Here’s a few tips on how to get started:

  1. Ask questions about your clients current circumstances
  2. Listen for their expressed (or implied) emotional response to their circumstances
  3. Recall a time in your professional (or personal) life where similar emotions were experienced by you
  4. Discuss how you experienced those emotions and what you hoped for

It’s that easy! If you have any experience in Active Empathetic Listening, let us know in the comments below! We would love to hear your stories. And, if you have any questions, as always, feel free to shoot us a message or start a conversation in the comment section below.



Leave a Reply